Luke 17:1-19

Luke 17:1-19

Forgiveness is probably the hardest thing that we will ever accomplish in our life... Forgiving means letting it go and walking away from it. Letting God wash it away. Not dwelling on it any more. It's no longer there in your mind or your heart. It's forgiven.I’ve told you that God loves you. Do you love Him? This is the question that we need to answer. Do I love God? Am I willing to respond to the Word of Jesus and love God back, first and foremost by receiving Jesus? I’ve said it many times, and I’m going to say it again, and I’ll probably say it a hundred times again in my life. Jesus was the One that said, “I’m the way, the truth, and the life. No man comes to the Father but by Me.” Jesus is the proof of our love for God. We must receive Him, and once we’ve come through Jesus, once we’ve approached the Father, the Creator of all that we see around us, once we approach Him through Jesus then we can say, “Yes, I truly do love God.” You can say you love God, but if you reject Jesus, if you reject the teachings of Jesus, if you push aside the understanding and the love that Jesus asked for us to have for each other through Him, you can not truly say that you love God because you are denying the very foundation of what that love means. We are required, by Jesus’s own words, to love God through Him. It’s not going to stop God from loving us if we don’t, it’s not going to stop God from caring for us if we don’t, but it’s also not going to stop God from allowing us to make the choice to be separated from Him for all eternity…

We’re told Jesus died for sin once and for all. The issue of sin is dealt with in God’s heart when He sacrificed His Son. There is no man that is going to stand before God on the day of judgment and hear these words, you can not come into heaven because you’re a sinner. It has nothing to do with whether or not they’re a sinner because, guess what? Every man that stands before God on the day of judgement is a sinner. Sin is not the criteria for being kept out of heaven, just as our goodness is not the criteria for being accepted in, but it is, have we received forgiveness through His Son Jesus Christ and received Him as our Savior? Do we understand that we have that forgiveness through His Son, and have we received Him? That’s the question at stake. Have we received Him? Have you received Him?…

“If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him.” Forgive him. This is a hard thing for us to do. This is a hard lesson for us to learn. Forgiveness is probably the hardest thing that we will ever accomplish in our life… Forgiving means letting it go and walking away from it. Letting God wash it away. Not dwelling on it any more. It’s no longer there in your mind or your heart. It’s forgiven. Just as Jesus said, He has cast it as far as the East is from the West. It’s no longer in His mind…

It takes a huge amount of faith and a huge amount of understanding to be able to forgive in this way…

Do you believe that you can not forgive someone? Is there someone in your life that you have not forgiven? Or are there sins in people’s lives that you know or you’re still harboring in your heart, that you won’t forgive? God’s Word says forgive, take a stand of faith, believe that Jesus’s Word has told you to do it, and that sin will then disappear from your heart and hopefully disappear from the life of the person who sinned against you. It’s no longer there between you…

We have a responsibility as children of God, we have a responsibility as those who have received Jesus into our life and are now the living light of the Holy Spirit in this world. The Holy Spirit comes into us and shines through us. We have a responsibility to let that light shine. And what is the light that comes from the Holy Spirit? It is the light of forgiveness. He came to share the good news so that we would understand how to preach the gospel. What is the gospel? What is the good news? That Jesus Christ died for your sin and my sin. We no longer have to be separated from God because of the issue of sin. But yet, that is the hardest command for any of us to obey. It is the hardest thing for us to do, is to forgive…

If you’re asking for your faith to be increased, then spend time in God’s Word, understand God’s heart, and respond to His Word. And His Word tells us, love. Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor… And how can you say that you love your neighbor if you’re not forgiving your neighbor? That’s our responsibility, that’s our duty, and that’s where faith comes from…

Are you thankful for what God has done for you? Are you thankful for the love that God has for you? Are you thankful for God giving you His Word, giving you instruction? Are you thankful that God has said, “Forgive your neighbor”? Think of the things that we’re not thankful for, so often. We need to be thankful for them, and we need to respond because we are like those Israelites. As believers in Jesus Christ, as ones filled with the Holy Spirit, we are the ones that have been asked to carry the good news. Add the responsibility of sharing with the rest of the world Who God is. Are we thankful for that?

Dave Elkins